Baitullah Mehsud Claims Responsibility for Fatal Rampage Near Lahore, Says Violence Avenges U.S. Missile Strikes. The leader of the Pakistani Taliban threatened Tuesday to carry out a terrorist attack on the U.S. capital, and said his forces were behind an assault on a police academy in eastern Pakistan. Baitullah Mehsud said fighters loyal to him raided the police academy on the outskirts of Lahore on Monday to avenge continuing U.S. missile strikes against Islamic militants along the border with Afghanistan, a region largely controlled by the Taliban and al Qaeda. The attack on the police academy, which left 12 people dead, "was in retaliation for the ongoing drone attacks in the tribal areas. There will be more such attacks," he said by telephone from an undisclosed location. Mr. Mehsud , who spoke with a handful of Pakistani reporters, is based in the South Waziristan tribal region, on the Afghan border. A senior U.S. official said, "We've seen a widening of the attacks," out of the tribal areas, and added, "this has had the effect of having a lot of Pakistanis binding together. " In March, U.S. officials issued a $5 million bounty for Mr. Mehsud . Domestic counterterrorism officials in Washington noted that the Pakistani militant has made similar threats in the past. Mr. Mehsud 's claim of responsibility for the attack at the police academy heightened fears that militant violence, which has engulfed much of northwestern Pakistan, is spreading to the country's eastern heartland, Punjab. The leader of the Pakistani Taliban threatens to carry out a terrorist attack on Washington , D.C. Fox News's Jonathan Hunt reports from New York. Until recently, the province had been spared much of the violence, although some of Pakistan's most potent Islamic militant groups originated in the region. Mr. Mehsud , the 35-year-old supreme commander of the Tehrik-e-Taliban, known as the Pakistani Taliban , also threatened to expand his targets beyond Pakistan. "Soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world," he said in separate remarks to the Associated Press. Pakistani and Western intelligence officials say it is unlikely that Mr. Mehsud , whose forces are concentrated largely on fighting Pakistan's government, has the reach and resources to attack the U.S. However, those officials note, Mr. Mehsud has close ties to al Qaeda, and coordination with the group could increase his sweep considerably. To counter that threat, the U.S. since August has launched dozens of missile strikes from Predator drone aircraft. Pakistani and U.S. officials say Mr. Mehsud and his loyalists are among the targets of the campaign, which officials say has killed at least nine top al Qaeda militants. Despite the campaign's success in eliminating major al Qaeda figures, the air raids have stoked anger among ordinary Pakistanis, many of whom are ambivalent about the U.S. fight against Islamic militants and see the strikes as a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty. Pakistani officials publicly opposed the strikes but privately say they aided the American effort in part to combat the growing power of Taliban factions loyal to Mr. Mehsud , which control swaths of the country's northwest. Pakistani and U.S. intelligence officials say Mr. Mehsud is believed to have had a hand in major attacks including the December 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Meanwhile, Pakistan's Supreme Court put the country's main opposition party back in control of the provincial government of Punjab, a move likely to ease political tensions that Washington feared were distracting Pakistan from the fight against militants. In late February, President Asif Ali Zardari imposed federal control in Punjab after the court barred the province's chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, from holding office because of election irregularities. It also barred his brother, Nawaz Sharif, who heads the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, from holding elected office because of a past conviction. The dismissal of Mr. Sharif's Punjab administration sparked protests that forced Mr. Zardari to back down and agree to appeal the court's verdict. It ruled on that appeal Tuesday.